Fake Spambots on InstagramFeb 08, 2022
I want you to picture this. You're just hanging out on Instagram just doing your thing. And then you get a DM from someone that says “hey, did you make another account? Because I just got a DM from someone that's pretending to be you.”
Now, this is something that is actually a lot more common than you think. And the kicker is, is that this happens to so many people every single day. But most don't realize because they don't have a big enough audience pool of people who are going to get DMS and then think anything of it to have their blinders on enough to reach out to you. And let you know, this actually happens a lot more. And it's actually happening a lot more in 2022, which is really interesting. And I'm definitely planning on doing a little bit more research and digging into it.
What is it? What can you do to avoid it? Can you avoid it? And how should you respond if it happens to you, or if you're on the receiving end? So this actually just started happening to me. Yesterday, I've had profiles with fake names that have taken my photos and like weird things before because Instagram is a public domain, and this happens a lot. And I don't usually think anything of it. But now these spambots have made profiles with a username similar to mine, which is different than what had happened before. And to add insult to injury, there's like four of them on Instagram at the time of this recording. That is my name with various underscores after they have the same profile picture, relatively the same bio took a bunch of my photos.
How to recognize Spambots
Let's start out with how can we recognize that these accounts are fake. I think that the reason why this is popping up more and more is that a lot of people are making new profiles. And honestly, that's another conversation for another day as far as actually doing anything for your business. But that's not today's topic. But why this is happening more and more? A lot of people still use these services, where you buy fake followers, fake comments, fake likes. And so what these services do is they need to make hundreds of 1000s of accounts, to be able to go and follow and like and do all of these things through their little bot service. So rather than making a ton of fake profiles, what they do is they use their software, to basically rip off other accounts to take their photos, take the profile picture, make the bio look like someone else's so that they think it's real. And then what they do from there is usually they won't do anything. And they will just be the spammy profiles, you see that follow a bunch of accounts, maybe like photos, maybe leave spammy comments. But what some of them do is they're also trying to sell and scam other people utilizing the name profile and likeliness of a real person.
If this happens to you, this does not mean that you were hacked. As you can see, I have not been hacked, my account is locked down completely secured. And all that they did was take public things. The things on my page are public, anyone can take or use them. They just took that stuff. So that's essentially why it happens. Again, it happens all the time. And it probably has happened to you and you just likely have not noticed. Now, where are these profiles make the colossal mistake when they do it to an account like mine is I am very vocal with my audience. I talked to my audience all the time. So when they get a sketchy follow a sketchy message, their alarm bells are already going off. I've gotten a lot of messages from people like “Hey, I think this is going on.” But remember, this is not hacking. I am good. It's just that they're making a profile that looks like me to be shady maybe to try to scam you.
Signs to know who is a Spambot
Let's start out with some signs about how you know that the account that looks like someone you know is not real. The first thing you want to look at is if they normally have highlights, and this new profile does not have highlights, that is a red flag. If this person normally posts stories, and you'll notice on these accounts, you will rarely see stories unless there's something scammy that is a red flag, you will notice that all of their photos they'll upload like anywhere between 10 and 20 photos over the course of usually 24 hours or less, usually less. And they'll upload photos that are static photos. And they'll upload usually without a caption, which is also a major major red flag.
If anyone is legitimately making a second account, they will not just post a bunch of random stuff, they also will not have reels and generally will not have videos up. So if you look at my real page, you will see that I have reels and videos, these fake accounts do not, they also usually will take a bunch of older photos and post those up. That is also another sign. Now, a lot of people have started getting DMS from these fake profiles. And so again, I usually write how I talk. This is something that's very important to me. So when you get a message from a fake profile or fake me, that looks weird. It's probably not me and I joke and this is true. If you want to know if it's me ask a Vampire Diaries-related question. The answer will let you know whether or not it's me.
Something else worth noting is that I do not and will not message you about a private chat, crypto, or Bitcoin, any of those creepy things. Also, you know, I don't cold message. So I'm not going to cold message you about something stupid. So that's another sign that you know, it's not me.
How to avoid Spambots
Now to kind of move on to how can you avoid this happening to you. Unfortunately, this does happen to people who are in the micro-influencer range, I still consider myself in the micro-influencer range. But it hits people in the micro-influencer range all the way up to celebrities. Definitely consider myself a micro-influencer. And it happens because they also want to use a profile of someone who likely has trust built into their audience. That's how they try and scam you something else too. I don't think that these spambots have sent any links. But if someone sends you a sketchy link, or something unsolicited never, ever click it. I promise I will not send you a random link without some sort of context. And again, if you're unsure, always ask what the link is, before you click it. If the URL looks weird, don't click it. Like if I'm sending you a link, it's probably it's something you asked for like a checkout link to sign up for one of my programs, or a freebie or a course. Or to go to my Facebook group, I'm not sending you random links.
There is also this actual hacking scam going around that I want to make note of where you get a message from someone that says “I worked really hard on this for two hours, I hope you like it” with a really sketchy looking link. Never ever click on any of those. And again, even if it comes from a profile of someone you know, this is how a lot of accounts get hacked frequently.
When in doubt, ask about the link.
And you can also search keywords that are in the URL into Google without clicking it if you're not sure what it is. But again, probably most people will not send you a link with something sketchy. If I'm sending you a tick tock, you’ll know, it's a tick tock. And a lot of reputable links will also have a link preview, which shows you a photo or a description of what the link is most sketchy links that you should not be clicking do not populate a link preview. So that is another sign of something that you should look for.
But again, can you avoid this happening to your kind of tying back to what I said before, not really when you have a public account, or a public business, what you post is public and even though no one can impersonate you. And that's why we're reporting these accounts. They can take photos, and there's really nothing that you can do to avoid it. The best thing that you can do is, of course, educate your audience. Let them know where they can actually find you. Make sure that your audience understands your social media habits and behaviors so that way, just like with what happened to me, it set off a lot of red flags.
Something else that's really interesting to note, and where this is kind of a blessing and why I'm not freaking out about this is number one, my account is secure. I know that but also number two, this has actually started did a lot of amazing reconnection conversations, because people are getting DMS from fake me who I haven't had a chance to talk to in a couple of months or a couple of years. So now we're talking. So it's like, I'm so grateful for that. And I'm so grateful that people are taking the time to let me know that this is happening. Like, even though I've gotten a lot of DMS, like, I really appreciate people taking the time out of their day to send me a message looking out for me. So like, I'm really grateful for that. And just realizing how many people care about me enough to do that is definitely another blessing that is come from this unfortunate circumstance.
This happens to a lot of people, if you're growing a business and as your awareness grows, and your content grows and your page grows, the likelihood of this happening to you also grows. So here's something that you can do, encourage your audience to report unblock the fake profile, this is how we can let Instagram know that someone is impersonating me, or someone will put it in air quotes. It's pretty much spambots. It's just it's happening too much too fast to be a person who cares enough about me to do it, it's spam. So report the account, block the account. And then again, if you ever have any concerns, come to my profile, or go to Ybanez Media and be like is this you is this Kayla we will always be happy to confirm and we understand you being cautious. I think that that's really important for us to talk about as well like it's important for you to be cautious.
I want you to be safe. And I want you to know that when I'm messaging you that it's actually me, you know what I mean. And again, just remember, I will never message you about creepy things. I will never send you sketchy links. I will especially not send you a link unsolicited. But the best thing that we can do is report block, ignore these profiles. And just recognize that stuff like this happens. And the most important thing that we can do is to just, you know, be alert, be aware. And if you do choose at any time to make another profile, make sure that you are consistently educating your audience by talking about it, and not just making it out of nowhere. Because as of the time of this recording, there are actually four fake accounts that are my name with underscores. I also don't like underscores and usernames (that's my professional opinion).
So, if you see a username with an underscore in it, that will further let you know that it's not me.
But again, I understand that especially when someone takes your bio and your description, and your photo. At first glance, it really looks like it is that person. So always be cautious. Always pay attention. And again, I just have to thank everyone for letting me know when I'm hoping by the time that this episode releases that this problem has been fixed. But something else for you guys to know. For my audience, I adore you. The places that you can find me on Instagram are:
So if you're not following those pages, make sure you do and I will also put the links down in the show notes to make sure that you can click follow and that is how you know that you are actually speaking to me speaking to my team. And yeah, I'm not going to send you any creepy DMS. Unless we're close that I might I might send you something creepy every now and then.